Trying to fall in love with film again.

'Widows' may be the best movie I've seen this yearReview

Widows | SAG-AFTRAStory

Four thieves are killed in a botched heist and their widows need to finish the job. The premise is a simple one, it leaves room for compelling characters and dynamic storytelling. And that is exactly what we got. The story as a whole has a coherent flow and even though I wouldn't call them plot twists, there are moments where the plot moves in a different direction (I guess you could call it a plot twist).
The story never feels convoluted and doesn't try too hard to shock you which is what makes it a good movie.

This movie is a remake of the 1983 show of the same name but this story takes a unique approach by changing the setting to Chicago and bringing in political elements.

This movie also has social commentary but it's not blatant or obvious, certain things happen and you know that it's a reflection on society today but the movie never stops to let you think about it or explain what happened.

Acting

This movie has an ensemble cast and that was one of the biggest draws for me (apart from the director). It stars Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Liam Neeson, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Collin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya and Robert Duvall. I could go on and on because there are so many talented actors in this movie.

The acting in this movie doesn't feel like acting. The characters feel like real people and because of that, you begin to see them that way. At no point did I think, "That's Viola Davis" or "That's Daniel Kaluuya" They became their characters which is a testament to the immense talent that the actors in this movie have.

Viola Davis is the glue that binds this movie together. If you take her out of this movie, it wouldn't be as good. Her character (Veronica Rawlins) is reminiscent of Annalise Keating in 'How to Get Away with Murder' in the sense that both women are incredibly smart and will do what they have to if backed into a corner. This isn't the best Viola Davis performance but it's a very good one. She continues to show why she's one of the most respected actors working today.

Michelle Rodriguez is known for playing badass characters and this movie doesn't deviate too far from that mold. That's not to say her performance was bad, but there isn't much to say about it because it's what you expect from her.

Elizabeth Debicki characters are usually more polished and in this, she's less put together. She has one of the most important arcs in the film and she's the most sympathetic of all the characters, because of that you want her to win.

Cynthia Erivo gave a standout performance in Bad Times at the El Royale and in that review, I stated that couldn't wait to see what she did next and she didn't disappoint in this movie.

The standout performance was Daniel Kaluuya without a doubt. He had incredible screen presence. When his character (Jatemme Manning) was on screen you couldn't help but look at him whenever he was on screen. He was able to take this character and make it his own. He's not the most charismatic character but there is something about him that draws you in.

The supporting cast also does a great job of creating a well-rounded story. Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Liam Neeson, Rober Duvall, Carri Coon, Garret Dillahunt (no seriously this cast is incredible) really help to keep the story grounded.

This movie also has great chemistry, all the actors bounce off each other organically and there isn't a performance that drags the movie down or makes its grind to a halt.

Writing/Direction

Gillian Flynn, the author of Gone Girl and Steve McQueen wrote the screenplay and did a brilliant job on creating a cohesive story that makes you invested in what is going on. They also did a great job with the characters. None of the characters in this movie are likeable people and that's a good option for a movie like this. Even though you sympathise with them, at no point do you want to be like them. (unless you want to be a criminal, and if that's the case I'm calling the police and snitching on you to your grandmother.)

The movie was directed by Steve McQueen, whose last film was the critically acclaimed '12 Years a Slave' and I was extremely excited to see what he did next and this film didn't disappoint. This film has excellent direction and pacing, it wastes no times getting you involved in the story and manages to juggle each character's story without losing sight of the big picture and over-arching themes.

The movie also has genuine tension as well, you never really know what's going to happen and having that question mark means you pay attention to the story and the characters.

There is also very good shot composition and cinematography. This is one of those movies where each shot is intentional. They're there to add more to the story and give you more insight into the characters, their actions and motivations

Set Design

The movie as a whole looks great and gives each character a visual theme so they're distinguishable. You get a real sense of Chicago and the different areas in the city.  That's because the movie was filmed in Chicago and that lends itself to the authenticity of the film and it draws you in.

Score/Soundtrack

The score isn't present throughout the film, but when it's present you feel it. The lack of sound pulls you into the film more and lends itself to the more tense moments in the film.

Hans Zimmer composed the film and you can tell. The score in this film is very reminiscent of the score in The Dark Knight and even though there aren't a lot of similarities between the two movies, the sonic parallels make sense.

 Overall Thoughts

I mentioned in my Ocean's 8 review (that you can read here) that I'm a huge fan of heist movies and this one is no different. It's interesting that we got two female-led heist movies this year that are completely different from each other. While that one was grounded in comedy and was more light-hearted, this one is much more of a thriller.

One word I'd use to describe this film is real. Everything about it feels authentic. Even though it is a movie, it never feels that way. Steve McQueen gave us a tense heist thriller with compelling characters, a good story that I would 100% watch again.

Comments